A roundup of the most talked about political and global stories in the Jewish world this week:
Israel’s boycott ban
The Knesset passed a law this week penalizing anyone who boycotts Israel or the settlements, a measure that one leader said is intended “to protect the citizens of Israel.” Those affected by boycotts can now protest them without having to prove that they sustained any damage. The law was met by immediate backlash from peace groups and others. “The campaign against Israeli settlements is real, but this new law will almost certainly backfire,” said Hussein Ibish at Foreign Policy. “What this suggests is an official Israeli perspective in which there is a virtual Israel that exists wherever a settler happens to be at any given moment, and an undefined, unresolved occupation everywhere else,” which is a “legally and politically untenable and indeed preposterous position.” Actually, it’s a good thing to get rid of these communal calls to protest, said Carol Gould at Jewish Comment. “Boycott is a word loved by Joseph Goebbels. Anything he loved is something I detest.”
Beck’s Knesset visit
“By all accounts, Glenn Beck’s visit to Israel this week couldn’t have gone better,” reported McClatchy, a trip that included an address before Knesset. However, not everyone is buying Beck’s commitment to supporting Israel. “Without Israel, Beck is just another right-wing bigot and crackpot But with it, he becomes almost legitimate and so does the dangerous and ugly portrayal of Jews that has become his trademark,” said MJ Rosenberg at The Huffington Post. Still, Beck has his supporters, like Josh Hasten at Israel National News. “Simply put, Beck gets it. He understands that we are truly in the midst of World War Three and that the worst is still to come. He understands that the battle which rages is a battle between the beliefs, morals, and values of Western Civilization and that of the Islamic death cult committed to the west’s demise,” he said.
The latest poll on Obama
It’s been a back-and-forth debate for weeks about whether American Jews are really backing Obama in his re-election bid. The latest poll has Obama’s Jewish support down to 43 percent, which means it “might be a good time for Obama to change the subject to how good a friend he’s been to Israel,” said Abby W. Schachter at the New York Post. Wait a minute, said The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent. “The phrasing in this poll is comically skewed towards eliciting the most negative responses possible. As always, the game is to perpetuate the sad conservative meme that this time, really this time, American Jews are going to abandon their liberalism and vote Republican because Obama is a huge anti-Semite.” No matter where things stand now, Obama should take the Jewish vote seriously. “In a close election, those Jewish votes would probably spell the difference between victory and defeat,” said Rick Moran at American Thinker.
Bring polygamy back?
A new organization called Habayit Hayehudi Hashalem (The Complete Jewish Household) is trying to reinstate polygamy despite Jewish law against it. “It is being promoted as the Jewish solution for the abundance of single women, the Arab demographic threat and the male predicament of seeking extramarital relations,” according to The Jerusalem Post. Rabbi Yehezkel Sopher,, who is leading the campaign, said, “This is not about secular people who abide by the rules of the state, rather religious people. Whoever wants to take another wife – the Torah does not object to it.” But he faces some steep opposition. “A range of rabbis in Israel, including Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, have come out against Sopher and polygamy,” said Ben Sales at The Jewish Daily Forward.
A frantic search for a missing New York boy ended with news on Wednesday of the child’s tragic murder. Leiby Kletzky’s body parts were discovered in the refrigerator of a 35-year-old man, according to reports. “I will forever remember this little boy and his desire to be independent and a grown up boy, and every time I hug my son I will be hugging Leiby also,” said Ilana Angel in the Jewish Journal. What can parents learn from this horrible story? “There’s no way to anticipate a creep grabbing a sweet little boy off of our neighborhood streets, taking him home, and dismembering him, then placing him in the refrigerator,” said Jeanne Sager at CafeMom. “If that thought went through our minds, frankly, we as parents would be paralyzed, unable to function. We need, instead, to be cautious but optimistic in life.” Said Danielle Sullivan at Babble: “Some things in life are just beyond words…this is certainly one of them.”